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How many pets are too many for a newborn?

2 answers
My sister is 5 months pregnant and she lives in a two bedroom apartment ( around 1000 square feet) with 5 cats, 2 dogs and her partner. All the animals are well behaved and trained but have never interacted with small children. My parents and I am very concerned because she categorically rejects the possibility of getting rid of any of the animals (they're her children, if you know what I mean). Is this something I should do something about? I would never forgive myself if anything happened to the baby due to negligence T.T but I also understand my sister has the right to raise her child as she sees fit. How much of a health concern could this be? Her apartment is really clean and all animals make "their business" in appropriate places. However, you can tell 7 animals live there by the smell. Any advice will be dearly appreciated

answers (2)

Ultimately, this is her decision. Anything you do (like calling animal control) would result in a huge rift in your relationship with her. While I do understand that is a lot of animals in a small space, it's just not your place. The fact that the animals haven't interacted with children is not really an issue at this point. When my first child was born we had two cats and a young dog, none of whom had ever been around children. All three adored my daughter and watched over her. Since my pets were treated as family members, they understood that our new baby was theirs to take care of as well. (I'm actually sad right now, because our "mama cat" went missing a few months ago and our next baby will never know her.)The bottom line is that if the apartment is clean, there are no health issues to worry about. Studies have actually shown that having pets during the first year of life actually reduce the occurrence of allergies and asthma in children. Caring for pets teaches kids responsibility and helps babies learn how to control themselves (with hitting, etc.). 
I forgot to add, the only concern would be how the animals behave after the baby is born. Any that show aggression need to be watched very carefully, and I would never leave a baby alone in a room with a dog. If either of the dogs show aggression, your sister needs to talk to an animal behviorist right away to learn how to stop the aggressive behavior before it gets dangerous, and/or she needs to think about finding a new home for the dog(s). In my experience, cats who don't care for babies/children will keep to themselves and will not attack. (Unless, the cat is just downright vicious/crazy.)Your sister and her partner will also figure out very quickly that it is difficult to juggle the attention needs from a baby and from pets. That may change her mind and may make her think about finding new homes for a few of the animals. But, they may also be able to handle it all. 

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